NVTYLL Code of Conduct
The NVTYLL has adopted the policy and philosophy of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) with respect to “Honoring the Game” for all NVTYLL participants including players, coaches, officials, and spectators as follows:
PCA believes the time has come to unite behind a powerful new term, “Honoring the Game.” Coaches, parents, and athletes need to realize that an Honoring the Game perspective needs to replace the common win-at-all-cost perspective. If a coach and his or her team have to dishonor the game to win it, what is this victory really worth, and what sort of message is this sending young athletes?
If Honoring the Game is to become the youth sports standard, it needs a clear definition. At PCA we say that Honoring the Game goes to the “ROOTS” of positive play. Each letter in ROOTS stands for an important part of the game that we must respect. The R stands for Rules. The first O is for Opponents. The next O is for Officials. T is for Teammates, and the S is for Self.
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R is for Rules
Rules allow us to keep the game fair. If we win by ignoring or violating the rules, what is the value of our victory? PCA believes that honoring the letter AND the spirit of the rule is important.
O is for Opponents
Without an opponent, there would be no competition. Rather than demeaning a strong opponent, we need to honor strong opponents because they challenge us to do our best. Athletes can be both fierce and friendly during the same competition (in one moment giving everything to get to a loose ball, and in the next moment helping an opponent up). Coaches showing respect for opposing coaches and players sets the tone for the rest of the team.
O is for Officials
Respecting officials, even when we disagree with their calls, may be the toughest part of Honoring the Game. We must remember that officials are not perfect (just like coaches, athletes and parents!). Take time to think about how to best approach an official when you want to discuss a call. What strategies do you have to keep yourself in control when you start to get upset with officials” calls? We must remember that the loss of officials (and finding enough in the first place) is a major problem in most youth sports organizations, and we can confront this problem by consistently respecting officials.
T is for Teammates
It’s easy for young athletes to think solely about their own performance, but we want athletes to realize that being part of a team requires thinking about and respecting one’s teammates. This respect needs to carry beyond the field/gym/track/pool into the classroom and social settings. Athletes need to be reminded that their conduct away from practices and games will reflect back on their teammates and the league, club, or school.
S is for Self
Athletes should be encouraged to live up to their own highest personal standard of Honoring the Game, even when their opponents are not. Athletes” respect for themselves and their own standards must come first.
Having this definition of Honoring the Game (HTG) is a start. To make Honoring the Game the youth sports standard, coaches, leaders, and parents need to discuss HTG with their athletes. Coaches need to practice it with their athletes (i.e. have players officiate at practice). And perhaps most importantly, all adults in the youth sports setting (coaches, leaders, parents, officials, and fans) need to model it. If these adults Honor the Game, the athletes will too.
NVTYLL Rules Addendum
In addition, the NVTYLL Board has endorsed the following NFHS guidelines intended to address the issues of proper conduct both on and off the field at NVTYLL events. These guidelines are designed to support the kind of environment for our youth athletes that will keep them playing lacrosse and provide them with such a positive experience that they will remain in the game and later give back to the sport as coaches, officials, and parents who encourage their own children to play. The NVTYLL Board of Directors recognizes that points 1, 2, and 3 below will be difficult to put in place in all NVTYLL programs, the NVTYLL Board considers these guidelines to be recommendations only for the 2010 lacrosse season.
1) Spectators and Teams on Opposite Sides of Field
Spectators and fans will be placed on the opposite side of the field from the table and bench areas. If the field is laid out in a manner that does not allow spectators and fans to be located on the far side of the field, the referee can waive this requirement. When stands or seating facilities are not provided on the opposite side of the field, spectators, fans, and parents will observe the 6-yard spectator limit line on the far side of the field.
2) Sideline Managers
Each youth lacrosse team will be asked to provide a designated Sideline Manager (one adult per team, on site, per game-day contest) to help encourage, maintain and manage the sportsmanlike behavior of spectators and fans. These adults would be responsible for insuring that the spectators and fans support the athletes, coaches and officials in a positive manner and refrain from behavior not in conformity with the US Lacrosse Code of Conduct. The Sideline Managers will receive training prior to these contests by reviewing the document “Sideline Manager Job Description” provided by US Lacrosse and the US Lacrosse – Positive Coaching Alliance, available online at:http://www.uslacrosse.org/official/sportsmanshipcard.phtml, or by requesting a paper copy of this document through their local US Lacrosse Chapter. Sideline managers will introduce themselves to the officials prior to the coin toss, and follow those procedures outlined in the Sideline Manager Job Description, found at the referenced US Lacrosse website location. Sideline Managers will notify an unruly fan or spectator that unsportsmanlike behavior may lead to ejection and/or a game cancellation by the officials, under Game Termination – Guideline 4.
3) Auxiliary Officials
Each youth lacrosse team will be asked provide one adult who will be trained as an Auxiliary Youth Official. In the event that one or both of the scheduled officials does not appear to perform officiating duties, the Auxiliary Official(s) would be asked to referee the game. The Auxiliary Official could be an active parent attending his or her child’s game or another adult affiliated with the organization or town hosting the event. The Auxiliary Official will have completed US Lacrosse Level 1 Officials Training for boys’/men’s lacrosse and have active membership status in US Lacrosse as an official, but will not be assigned a schedule of league games.
4) Game Termination
Officials will have authority to terminate a NVTYLL game in response to flagrant acts of unsportsmanlike behavior by coaches, athletes, spectators, or fans. A game termination will be the last resort in insuring the players’ safety and preserving the integrity of the game. If possible, game officials will issue at least one strong warning that the game is in danger of being terminated. However, it is conceivable that games may be terminated on the first instance of a flagrant unsportsmanlike act. Every effort should be taken to avoid game termination, including the enforcement of existing rules for team-conduct penalties, unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties, and ejection fouls. Mechanics for terminating a game for flagrant unsportsmanlike behavior can be found at the US Lacrosse webpage referenced above. All games terminated by a US Lacrosse Official, will result in a 1-0 victory for the team that is innocent of the terminal offense(s). If terminated under these conditions, the game will count in league statistics as a full game, and all goals, assists, saves, and other team statistics should count toward team and league records.